september, 2021

17sep6:30 pm7:30 pmDeesha Philyaw: The Secret Lives of Church Ladies6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Event Details

Please join the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance along with the Indigo Arts Alliance, Mechanics’ Hall, and USM’s Stonecoast MFA Program in welcoming award-winning fiction writer Deesha Philyaw to Portland for a reading and conversation. Philyaw will be joined by Arisa White, award-winning writer and assistant professor of creative writing at Colby College, and Longfellow Books will sell books at the event.

Roxanne Gay calls Philyaw’s debut book of stories, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, “Beautifully crafted. A lovely collection,” and Kiese Laymon writes, “Our new decade deserves a new literary force with major literary skills. Deesha Philyaw uses the comic, the allegorical, and the geographic to examine Black intimacies and Black secrets. Her work is as rigorous as it is pleasurable to read.”

Deesha Philyaw’s debut short story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the 2020/2021 Story Prize, and the 2020 LA Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies focuses on Black women, sex, and the Black church, and is being adapted for television by HBO Max with Tessa Thompson executive producing. Deesha is also a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and will be the 2022-2023 John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi.

Arisa White is an assistant professor of creative writing at Colby College and a Cave Canem fellow. She is the author of Who’s Your Daddy and co-author of Biddy Mason Speaks Up, winner of the 2020 Maine Literary Award for Young People’s Literature.

This event is free and open to the public. Your donation helps support our organizations and programming like this. For in-person tickets, we recommend a $10 donation; for streaming tickets, we recommend a $5 donation. All are welcome to participate regardless of ability to donate. Please note that the in-person audience will be limited, distanced, and masked according to Maine CDC recommendations. In-person seating is limited, so purchase your tickets in advance through Eventbrite.

Membership with Mechanics’ Hall is free for students and starts at just $50 a year for individual memberships, which includes use of the library, free and discounted access to programs, and much more. Consider becoming a member today and help support programs like this.


(Friday) 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

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